Workers’ compensation allows employees to get coverage for medical bills and other financial losses when they’re injured on the job. The workers’ compensation system exists to protect both employers and employees. Most employees have guaranteed coverage for injuries or illnesses, and employers are protected from personal liability.
In Arizona, all employers with one or more employees are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Part-time, full-time, private, and government employees are covered. Independent contractors and domestic workers are not covered by this insurance.
Benefits for workers’ compensation are enforced by the Industrial Commission of Arizona (ICA). It regulates workers’ compensation law and has a division to provide benefits to employees if their employer fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
When an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, they file it with the ICA. If their claim is disputed by their employer or their employer’s insurance provider, there will be an ICA hearing scheduled. The hearing will determine if the employee is eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
If an employee is injured while performing job duties, it’s their responsibility to report the injury to their employer as soon as possible. If the condition is the result of a developmental illness or injury, the employee must inform the employer as soon as they are aware of the condition. It’s also their responsibility to get medical treatment and file the incident with the ICA for workers’ compensation benefits.
Employers are responsible for:
Employers who violate their legal responsibilities for workers’ compensation face fines and business closure. If an employer doesn’t carry insurance, they will face ICA penalties as well as the potential to face a civil lawsuit from their injured employee.
If you were injured on the job, it’s important to file a claim as soon as possible. An employee must file a claim with the ICA within one year of:
If you fail to file in that timeframe, your claim will be denied, even if the claim is valid and in good faith.
Once you’ve filed your claim, there are other important legal requirements to keep in mind:
Arizona employees who receive workers’ compensation benefits are eligible for several types of benefits. It’s important to know what benefits you’re eligible for when negotiating with an insurance provider, as most insurance providers will try to give you less compensation than you deserve. A Phoenix workers’ compensation attorney can calculate how many benefits are available to you.
Workers’ compensation benefits include:
Usually, you can’t sue your employer. Workers’ compensation exists to provide employees with benefits and protect employers from personal liability. You may be able to sue your employer if the situation involves gross negligence or willful misconduct on the part of your employer. You can also sue your employer if they are uninsured. If a third party, outside of your employer, was responsible for your injuries, you can also hold them legally liable.
Workers’ compensation temporary disability benefits in Arizona are based on your average monthly wage before your injury, and how severe the injury is. You receive benefits that amount to ⅔ of the difference between your previous monthly wages and the wages you are currently making. The ICA places a cap on average monthly wages. There is also a five-year cap on receiving temporary benefits.
Two federal laws can provide protection in certain circumstances. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of protected leave for certain personal and family medical reasons, but employees must meet specific guidelines. Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) allows an employee and their family to remain on employer-sponsored health care for a limited period under some circumstances.
An employer is not allowed to fire an employee in retaliation for filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, Arizona’s at-will employment means that an employer can fire an employee for any legal reason. If you are on leave to recover from an injury and receive workers’ compensation benefits, you can be let go. It can be difficult to prove that you were fired because you filed a claim.
Worker’s compensation can be complex. If you need experienced legal representation and support, contact Arizona Injury Law Group.
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